We look at the highlights from the Aesthetics Conference and Exhibition 2015
The Aesthetics Conference and Exhibition (ACE) 2015 has been hailed a huge success following overwhelmingly positive feedback and requests to attend next year from delegates, speakers and exhibitors alike.
The conference, held on March 7 and 8 in Central London, was the perfect opportunity for aesthetic professionals to come together over one weekend and enjoy the vast range of learning and networking opportunities available at ACE.
ACE attracted more than 2,500 visits to watch the 61 outstanding clinical and business sessions, delivered by 71 speakers throughout the two-day event. With such an extensive offering, ACE attracted a variety of industry specialists, statistics showing 33% to be cosmetic doctors, surgeons, dermatologists and GPs, and 26% aesthetic nurses. Of the remaining delegates, 13% were found to be dentists, while 10% made up aestheticians and 18% clinic managers.
Alongside a comprehensive exhibition floor, which featured 100 top exhibitors, the weekend’s educational programme incorporated four agendas: interactive Conference modules, live demonstration Expert Clinics, Masterclasses and a Business Track. Each agenda featured respected and experienced speakers from across the aesthetics industry, who shared invaluable advice and knowledge on a variety of treatments, techniques and business insight, with more than 63 CPD points available across the weekend.
Amanda Cameron, Aesthetics editor and ACE 2015 programme organiser, said, “This year we saw an increase in attendance over both days of the conference, with packed demonstration theatres and business workshops right up until the last session on the Sunday. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from delegates, who really enjoyed the interactivity of the sessions, such as the individual voting keypads utilised in the main conference auditorium.” During sessions, delegates were able to interact with the speakers via the latest conference technology and throughout the event had free access to the Exhibition, Expert Clinics, Masterclasses and Business Track.
The Conference programme featured four dynamic and interactive modules which explored the entire patient journey across different areas of aesthetics, including the role of fat, injectables and dermatology. Mr Dalvi Humzah, renowned consultant plastic surgeon and ACE 2015 Steering Committee chair, joined his fellow practitioners and friends Dr Tapan Patel and Dr Raj Acquilla, with a guest appearance on Saturday from Canadian aesthetic doctor and international speaker Dr Arthur Swift, to present two main Conference sessions over the weekend, exploring the anatomy of the face and treatment with injectables. Reflecting on the sessions, Mr Humzah said, “It was exhilarating, we had great fun with each other and great interaction with the audience. There were questions asked on some interesting and challenging topics. I was delighted to work with Raj, Tapan and Arthur Swift, and each of us have been able to contribute a different perspective.” A key focus was facial anatomy, a concept which Mr Humzah feels is crucial to safe injection. “I am very keen on making sure people working in this area know about the anatomy and relate back to this in their practice,” he said. “I have an interest in anatomy, and I thought this way we could bring the subject to life on stage, using the videos, using the demonstration and using the models, so practitioners could see that this really is the way forward.”
Dr Arthur Swift also presented on behalf of Merz Aesthetics at the Merz Aesthetics Live Demonstration Zone, where he launched the new Belotero Volume with Lidocaine filler. He noted the importance for delegates to understand the scientific background of products and techniques, while retaining a focus on the overall goal – beauty. “I think when you start to understand the science behind the product and how the product works, sometimes it’s very easy to go ahead and lose your focus on what we’re trying to achieve,” he said. “These conferences aren’t just important, they’re crucial. Conferences like this are really the fibre of how we do our work.”
Alongside the injectables sessions, the Conference agenda also included ‘The role of FAT in medical aesthetics’, which drew together a vital debate about how fat should be managed in the aesthetics industry. Panellists took to the stage to discuss the latest and most effective ways of managing weight loss, and, with the use of audience interaction, found that attendees were divided 50/50 on whether plastic surgeons should be the only ones to perform liposuction. A board of industry experts were then invited to present their lipolytic technology to the audience, offering a wide overview of what is available in the industry today, allowing the audience to decide on their preferred technology. Mr Taimur Shoaib, consultant plastic surgeon and co-chair of the fat session, said, “I think the strongest point of the session was the variety of the people in the audience and on the panel.” He continued that the Conference brought together “a multidisciplinary team of people, where we can discuss patient concerns by asking people from a variety of different backgrounds.”
Sunday’s ‘Aesthetic Dermatology Clinic’ provided delegates in attendance with an insight into the newest innovations and skin treatments available in aesthetic dermatology in 2015. During the three-hour session, aesthetic nurse Anna Baker argued for the use of photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma, which was supported by respected dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams, who said, “In my opinion, this seems to be one of the best methods we can use.”
“This conference is a very exciting, multidisciplinary one which brings together all different aspects of cosmetic practice,” said Dr Christopher Rowland Payne, who chaired the dermatology session alongside Dr Williams. “It’s the opportunity for multidisciplinary discussion and talking about different treatments and developments and has a very interactive audience who participate in everything.” Set on the busy exhibition floor, the two Expert Clinic live demonstration theatres saw consistently full benches throughout the entire event. Within the programme, which offered independent and sponsored classes, sessions were presented by Lynton Lasers, Rosmetics, AestheticSource, Medico Beauty, Fusion GT, Sinclair Pharma, HealthXchange, BTL Aesthetics, 10 Laser, Skinceuticals and NeoCosmedix, covering topics from chemical peels to lasers. Amongst the vast array of topics, debates, techniques and treatments presented by esteemed speakers, Mr Humzah was joined on stage by Dr Elizabeth Raymond Brown to address the importance of good photography within aesthetics.
While highlighting ethical issues around consent of use with patient images, Dr Raymond Brown offered delegates key guidance in image taking. During the session, She said, “If you do one thing today – check your white balance. It will make a huge difference to your image results,” also reinforcing the idea that spending money on a decent camera would provide more detailed and effective images. In particular, the Vitamin Infusion Debate garnered a huge amount of interest. The Expert Clinic panel was chaired by nurse practitioner Sharron Brown and comprised Dr Martin Kinsella, Richard Sikkel, Dr Jacques Otto and Constance Campion. Though views on the treatment were divided, all panellists agreed that thorough consultations prior to vitamin drip treatments were crucial for maintaining patient safety. Of the Expert Clinic agenda, Dr Simon Ravichandran, who presented a session on advanced injectables to a packed audience with Dr Emma Ravichandran, said, “The delegates seem to be quite interactive here, they were quite open and asking questions – and they’re asking the right questions.” He added, “Often we practice independently. It’s a very lonely industry for those of us who don’t have colleagues, friends and peers who we can turn to, but events like this not only allow people to attend lectures and get all the best advice and latest training, but find other people to discuss ideas and get their advice from.”
Another popular aspect on the educational programme were the sponsored Masterclasses, a group of seminars and workshops where attendees could learn key best practice guidance for leading products from the top company KOLs.
Within the broad Masterclass agenda, Mr Shoaib discussed the patient experience in a session sponsored by Allergan. He stressed the importance of asking vital questions of patients during consultation and told the audience, “We need to explore their fears and anxieties.” Other
Masterclasses, sponsored by Sinclair Pharma, Medical Aesthetic Group, Institute Hyalual, Adare Aesthetics, 3D-lipo Ltd and Galderma, addressed acne treatment, the benefits of multi-platform treatment approaches, thread lifting, injectables and skin rejuvenation.
For those looking to build on their non-clinical skills, the ACE Business Track, sponsored by Church Pharmacy, gave delegates the chance to enhance their clinics and provide the ultimate patient experience.
Sessions provided a broad range of learning opportunities for delegates, which included how to give a great first impression, marketing skills, using social media, and VAT and insurance guidance. US author and international commentator Wendy Lewis presented two sessions over the weekend, which highlighted the importance of social media and visual content. Reflecting on her talk, she said, “People were really engaged and interested – social media is a really hot topic right now and marketing your clinic is of utmost importance. The attendance really showed that.”
The exclusive Question Time debate on Saturday evening, free to all attendees and sponsored by 3D-lipo Ltd, aimed to highlight this year’s most current and important industry issues.
Former BBC presenter Peter Sissons chaired the event, with a panel that included Wendy Lewis, Mr Dalvi Humzah, plastic surgeon Mr Paul Banwell, professional body chairs Sharon Bennett and Dr Paul Charlson, and Health Education England (HEE) modality lead Andrew Rankin. The HEE recommendations for qualification requirements were first to be discussed, with Mr Humzah insisting that it is “up to us as an industry to set up official qualification courses,” while Bennett said “If Europe can agree a consensus I can’t see a problem.” Regulation and accreditation were major factors in the debate, with Dr Charlson arguing that the General Medical Coucil are interested in accreditation for cosmetic practitioners, in contrast to many opinions, while Lewis raised the importance of policing your online reputation. One audience member questioned whether the panel felt positive about the potential for change in the industry, to which Rankin said, “The commitment we all have to improving standards is inspiring.” Bennett was also adamant that the future is bright and that “the climate will change and the consumer will be looking for accredited practitioners.” To conclude Question Time, each panelist offered a final thought. Bennett told delegates, “Join an association, lone practitioners are dangerous.”
The exhibition floor was the perfect opportunity for delegates to
meet with the top suppliers, gain valuable business partners and discover the latest product innovations. Lorna Bowes, director of headline sponsor AestheticSource, said, “The Expert Clinics seemed packed each day with a variety of topics covered, and the format of ‘clinic sessions’ on the main agenda packed the auditorium. This was particularly impressive given that the Merz sponsoredconferences; ACE squeezes so much into the time we have, it’s been very beneficial on all levels. I’m an experienced nurse prescriber and have been injecting for 16 years, but I still learn a lot every time I come and would definitely recommend ACE to colleagues. I’ll be back again next year.”
The success of this year’s event has firmly cemented ACE as the leading medical aesthetics conference and exhibition in the UK and, as such, planning for ACE 2016 is already underway.
Cameron concluded, “In view of this success, we are now already working on next year’s event to ensure that delegates once again will be given the opportunity to attend a conference that perfectly complements their practice, and inspires them to push innovative boundaries within aesthetics.”